Invest in Life

11 Send your bread on the surface of the water,(A)
for after many days you may find it.
Give a portion to seven or even to eight,(B)
for you don’t know what disaster may happen on earth.
If the clouds are full, they will pour out rain on the earth;
whether a tree falls to the south or the north,
the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
One who watches the wind will not sow,
and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap.
Just as you don’t know the path of the wind,
or how bones develop in[a] the womb of a pregnant woman,
so also you don’t know the work of God who makes everything.(C)
In the morning sow your seed,
and at evening do not let your hand rest,
because you don’t know which will succeed,
whether one or the other,
or if both of them will be equally good.
Light is sweet,
and it is pleasing for the eyes to see the sun.(D)
Indeed, if someone lives many years,
let him rejoice in them all,
and let him remember the days of darkness,(E) since they will be many.
All that comes is futile.
Rejoice, young person, while you are young,
and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.
And walk in the ways of your heart
and in the desire of your eyes;(F)
but know that for all of these things God will bring you to judgment.
10 Remove sorrow from your heart,
and put away pain from your flesh,(G)
because youth and the prime of life are fleeting.

The Twilight of Life

12 So remember your Creator in the days of your youth:

Before the days of adversity come,
and the years approach when you will say,(H)
“I have no delight in them”;
before the sun and the light are darkened,(I)
and the moon and the stars,
and the clouds return after[b] the rain;
on the day when the guardians of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
the women who grind grain cease because they are few,
and the ones who watch through the windows see dimly,(J)
the doors at the street are shut
while the sound of the mill fades;(K)
when one rises at the sound of a bird,
and all the daughters of song grow faint.
Also, they are afraid of heights and dangers on the road;
the almond tree blossoms,
the grasshopper loses its spring,[c]
and the caper berry has no effect;
for the mere mortal is headed to his eternal home,(L)
and mourners will walk around in the street;(M)
before the silver cord is snapped,[d]
and the gold bowl is broken,(N)
and the jar is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel is broken into the well;
and the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.(O)

“Absolute futility,” says the Teacher. “Everything is futile.”(P)

The Teacher’s Objectives and Conclusion

In addition to the Teacher being a wise man, he constantly taught the people knowledge; he weighed, explored, and arranged many proverbs.(Q) 10 The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and write words of truth accurately. 11 The sayings of the wise are like cattle prods,(R) and those from masters of collections are like firmly embedded nails.(S) The sayings are given by one Shepherd.[e]

12 But beyond these, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books,(T) and much study wearies the body.(U) 13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: fear God(V) and keep his commands, because this is for all[f] humanity.(W) 14 For God will bring every act to judgment,(X) including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.


  1. 11:5 Or know how the life-breath comes to the bones in
  2. 12:2 Or with
  3. 12:5 Or grasshopper is weighed down, or grasshopper drags itself along
  4. 12:6 Alt Hb tradition reads removed
  5. 12:11 Or by a shepherd
  6. 12:13 Or is the whole duty of

Bible Gateway Recommends

CSB God Loves You Bible for Kids
CSB God Loves You Bible for Kids
Retail: $9.99
Our Price: $5.00
Save: $4.99 (50%)
CSB Pocket Gift Bible, Burgundy LeatherTouch
CSB Pocket Gift Bible, Burgundy LeatherTouch
Retail: $14.99
Our Price: $5.00
Save: $9.99 (67%)
CSB Law Enforcement Officer's Bible, Black LeatherTouch
CSB Law Enforcement Officer's Bible, Black LeatherTouch
Retail: $24.99
Our Price: $12.49
Save: $12.50 (50%)
CSB Nurse's Bible, Navy LeatherTouch
CSB Nurse's Bible, Navy LeatherTouch
Retail: $24.99
Our Price: $12.49
Save: $12.50 (50%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars
CSB Outreach Bible
CSB Outreach Bible
Retail: $2.99
Our Price: $1.99
Save: $1.00 (33%)
4.0 of 5.0 stars